Blood may be thicker than water, but it’s not going to count for much if the blood relations in question are also thieves. So you’ll see in The Art of the Steal, a lightweight, utterly implausible heist/sting adventure set mostly in Niagara Falls, Ont., and helmed by Canada’s Jonathan Sobol (A Beginner’s Guide to Endings).
Kurt Russell plays Crunch Calhoun, former art-thief-turned-motorcycle-stuntman-turned-art-thief-again who, after a lengthy stint in a Polish jail, teams up with his slimy half-brother Nicky (Matt Dillon) and a motley crew for one last ultra-profitable scam involving a Georges Seurat painting and an obscure text allegedly printed by Gutenberg.
The twist here is that it was Nicky whose betrayal years earlier put Crunch in that Polish slammer. Can they let bygones be bygones long enough to pull off the score? Or is there really no honour among thieves?
Sobol’s yarn is played mostly for the laughs and the profanity-laden banter, with the principals driving largely on cruise control for 90 minutes.
As is often the case in these caper flicks, there’s too much plot for insufficient dramatic effect, and alert viewers will suss out where it’s all heading in the first five minutes.